How Immersive Travel Can Change Your Life

“Most people travel to escape life, but a special few travel so that life does not escape them. Embarking on such immersive journeys are intended to allow you an experience of the world, to inspire you on a deeply personal level — and in so doing, to change your life. Who are you? And more importantly, who do you want to be when you come home?”

– By Sam Anna Lee

The rat race breeds, well, rats. In a world where time stops for no one, too few of us take a step back to reflect, to recall our purpose and our dreams. Too many of us live only for the weekends, and before you know it, life speeds past in a series of fleeting intervals.

Contemporary wisdom tells us to create a life for ourselves that we do not need to escape from. But sometimes, an escape is precisely what you need to create the life you want. This is the path immersive travel leads you down — where you can reset, transform and grow.

Remember your place in the world

The clearest way to see yourself, and your own life, is from the outside. When was the last time you stopped and talked to a perfect stranger? Better yet, a stranger from a strange land? Some of the best conversations in life are the ones we never planned for, and the ones that force ourselves to acknowledge and come to realisations about ourselves that we never knew existed. Even when language (or the lack thereof) proves itself to be an inconvenient barrier, so much of our messaging is conveyed in our gestures and expressions that we can get by with non-verbal communication.

Connecting with those around us — be it our fellow escapists or people we meet at the destination — can spark new ways of thinking and shatter our preconceived notions of who we are and what is our purpose. This is the shared experience of being human. We become more tolerant, understanding and accepting. We feel connected to those around us and the world we live in, and so seek to affect a positive impact.

In Kasae Kum village in Myanmar, we were invited to the humble home of this man and his wife — a member of the long-necked Kayah tribe — where he served us homemade Kayah liquor

“When we acknowledge that our perspective defines our experience, that our reflection matters, and by being mindful of what we have discovered and how to integrate this awareness into our everyday lives, travel becomes transformational.”

Indulge in an inner journey

The prolific English writer, G.K. Chesterton said: “The traveller sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see.” Just relocating yourself from one place to another, having experiences, or even learning something new, doesn’t guarantee a transformation. Until you’ve gone deeper, been vulnerable, challenged yourself and applied meaning to why you’re there and what you’re open to experiencing, you won’t gain new perspectives, much less change.

When you let yourself just be, a destination is no longer defined by its headliner sights. Years on, nobody really looks back at a trip and recalls that carefully filtered photo posed for in front of a tourist attraction. You remember the smell of your first coffee sipped in a misty morning outside your tent, the warm hand and crinkled smile of the community’s elder, the distinctive clip-clop of your trusty Mongolian steed while on a nomadic migration. These are memories and experiences not to be found on the postcards sold at the souvenir store.

On our sojourn in Yunnan province, a serendipitous encounter with a village shaman gave us invaluable insight into the ancient culture and religious beliefs of the Yi ethnic minority. His hat has been passed down over four generations; the mushroom-like shape representing a ‘channel’ for him to hear the voice of the gods

When we acknowledge that our perspective defines our experience, that our reflection matters, and by being mindful of what we have discovered and how to integrate this awareness into our everyday lives, travel becomes transformational.

Push your boundaries

Yes, there will be days when fear can paralyse you, when the uphill climb never seems to end, or when you’re lost both emotionally and literally. Immersive travel can sometimes be rough and tough. But that’s the beauty of it. In times like these, when you let go of your expectations, surrender to the unpredictability of your journey and face your fears, you can surprise yourself with your untapped inner strength.

When you reach the summit, jump out of a plane or master a skill you once thought impossible to do, the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment of what you have surpassed and achieved can be life-changing. This is something that will leave a mark on your very being and transform you in unexpected ways.

“Contemporary wisdom tells us to create a life for ourselves that we do not need to escape from. But sometimes, an escape is precisely what you need to create the life you want.”

As part of their ethnic dress, the women in Hta Nee La Leh (an ethnic Kayah community in Myanmar) wear heavy lacquer rings around their knees all day and night. Here, one of them demonstrates how they feel like when they’re worn

Immersive travel is intense and extremely personal. But if you want to get the most out of it, these values are helpful to keep in mind on your journeys: stay curious, pause and reflect, and be open. Live for new experiences, make meaning from them, apply that to your life, and then do it all over again.

With Blue Sky Escapes, we invite you to be a part of the story, not only as you explore the world but as you explore yourselves. Our custom-crafted journeys promise to amplify the possibility of transformation with deep cultural experiences, active excursions and thought-provoking interactions. All you have to do is take the first step.

Let’s Escape